Dean’s Letter to Class of 1980: A Decade Later, Livingston’s Excitement Is Now Focused on Academics
W. Robert Jenkins, dean of Livingston College, wrote the following letter to the Class of 1980, included in the college yearbook, The Rock, Volume IV.
Your class is the tenth to graduate from this College and with your graduation you now become one of the more than 4,000 alumni who hold degrees from Livingston College. Those of us who were here in the fall of 1969 and saw the college in its infancy, have seen the initial enrollment of 750 surge to over 3,800 last fall. For me, this has been an especially gratifying experience. When I joined the Livingston Adventure as a faculty member I hardly anticipated that I would ever be writing this letter as your dean, but I can assure you that I am pleased and proud to do so.
I would like to reflect a bit on our past and, in doing so, note some of the changes which have occurred besides the increase in numbers of graduates. Our first year saw faculty offices in quad rooms and classes held in lounges, living rooms, the old officer’s club, and any other place where we could get together. Since then Tillett, Lucy Stone Hall, Beck, and the warehouse renovations for biology and psychology have all been completed. Although we do not have that much-desired separate student center building, we do now have a gym and additional recreational space in Tillett.
In the early days Livingston was known as a place where students were socially and politically active. This activity has been replaced with a concentration on career goals and concern about our futures as individuals. This some of the excitement is gone but to many that excitement has been replaced by a different kind. The stimulation of working together in pursuit of a strong academic experience is equally exciting. As we mature, we are reminded that we are a part of the rest of society to the extent that our worries and concerns differ little from those of others.
The faculty too has changed. We still have a generally dedicated and youthful faculty which give more of their time in informal ways to students than other college faculties. It is a group second to none so the value of their instruction and direction of you is unsurpassed in other colleges.
At the same time we have succeeded in many ways. The University is now open to large numbers of students who, in pre-Livingston years, did not enter the “hallowed halls” of the State University. We still have a campus as diverse in its people as is the population of the State. Education at Livingston College far exceeds the boundaries of the classroom, laboratory, and studio. This accomplishment is our greatest one and I am certain that you will see changes in society which are led by our graduates. Hopefully, each of you will be a part of these changes and hopefully, they will be for the better.
Finally, don’t forget your College. Join our new alumni organization and help us work for our future. Keep in touch and come back to see us.
Fondly and sincerely yours,
W. Robert Jenkins
Revised November 27, 2015